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Embedded Milestones for 2013 – theirs and ours

The start of a new year is always a good time to both look ahead and to reflect back on what happened during the year that has just ended.

While looking back on 2013, I found an interesting article on embedded.com in which Jack Gaussle gave his take on “The Most Important Milestones in Embedded in 2013”. Here’s the list (with a bit of his description)* of what are, in Jack’s opinion, the embedded-related products “that will shape the future of this industry:”

  • NXP’s LPC4370 microcontroller is the first in what I expect to be many inexpensive MCUs with multiple, and dedicated, cores on board.
  • Crypto engines have been around for a few years, and have been integrated on a few microcontrollers. With the furor this year over government information vacuum cleaners I think that we will see crypto become much more common — and start to be actually used in non-banking type applications that have any sort of connectivity.
  • Touchstone’s TS3310 PMIC Low-power is increasingly important, and vendors are releasing parts with astonishing performance. Touchstone’s new TS3300 PMIC is an example.
  • Analog Devices ADP172 Analog Devices is playing in this field, too. Their ADP172 regulator offers an input voltage down to 1.6 V and has a 50 mV drop out, and under a microamp of shutdown current.
  • Measuring power consumption Vendors have been providing tools to measure power consumption and, in some cases, relate it to the code.
  • Fairchild’s Law? Trillion sensors. This year Fairchild Semiconductor predicted that there will be a trillion sensors deployed by 2020…The future will see us surrounded by a field of sensors.
  • Software  On the software front, LDRA unbundled their unit testing software.
  • Oscilloscope watch One of the coolest things this year, which actually won’t be available till mid-2014, is Gabotronics oscilloscope watch. This is, or will be, a two channel scope with 8 logic analyzer inputs and a waveform generator, all worn on the arm.

I’m naturally excited about that prediction of one trillion sensors by 2020. And, as a geek, I am intrigued by the idea of that oscilloscope watch.

What’s interesting about this list is that a good portion of them are power related.  Low power is becoming increasingly important, and not only for “green” operation. Much of the IOT world will require it as well. If we’re going to make things smart, many will require power that the “dumb” versions didn’t already need. It’s possible that some will even live off of generating their own power through energy harvesting techniques that are just now coming of age.

Anyway, I wanted to add my two cents by calling out a few of Critical Link’s 2013 breakthroughs:

  •  Our first Altera Cyclone V System-on-Chip SoM
  • Our partnership with Timesys, which is providing a Linux toolset for the MityDSP-L138(F) and the MitySOM-335x
  • Wireless support for the MitySOM-335x, with wireless provided by LS Research TiWi R2 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth module

Maybe not quite as cool as the oscilloscope watch, but we’re proud of them.


*For the full narrative, plus diagrams and other illustrations, click through to the full article.